Two anniversaries of birth of opera soloists, whose lives were connected to the State Theater in Košice have fallen on these days. On Friday, June 26, it will be 90 years since bass-baritone singer Boris Šimanovský was born, a day later, June 27, we commemorate the 105th anniversary of birth of mezzosoprano singer Silvia Grünwaldová - Colombová. Even though they were born on the opposite sides of the first Czechoslovak republic, their paths overlapped right in Košice.
Boris Šimanovský (June 26, 1930 - June 28, 2004) was born in Mukachevo in today’s Transcarpathia. He belonged to the first generation of graduates from the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava where he studied singing under Professor Anna Korínska After graduation and half-year internship in Italy, his first engagement was the State Theater in Košice where he worked for three seasons in 1955 - 1958. From 1958 to 1990, he was a soloist of the Slovak National Theater in Bratislava. “His early days were the most promising and until the half of the 1960, he was singing great roles as well. He was Leporello and Masetto in Don Giovanni, Pizarro in Fidelio, Dragomír in Svätopluk, Galický in Count Igor and Coppelius, Dapertutto and Miracle (triune devil) in The Tales of Hoffmann. His rougher bass-baritone predestined him for interpretation of rather negative characters, as it is obvious from the mentioned roles. Later, he only created character roles from which I will only mention Zuniga in Carmen, Schaunard in La bohème, Sciarone in Tosca, and Mícha in The Bartered Bride while I remember his brilliantly performed cry over a dead body of Buos Donati in Puccini’s comic opera Gianni Schicchi (Kriška’s production in 1968) until today.” music reporter Vladimír Blaho wrote about Šimanovský on the portal operaplus.cz five years ago.
Native from Brno, soprano singer Silvia Grünwaldová - Colombová (June 27, 1915 - April 21, 1993) studied singing in her hometown under Professor Antonín Hromádka simultaneously with music science. In 1942, she accepted the engagement in opera of the New Scene in Brno. In the first postwar season 1945/46, right after the end of the Second World War, she worked also in Brno’s City Theater for Youth. In the middle of 1946, she followed her husband, choirmaster and conductor Jan Grünwald to Košice where they both joined the newly established opera ensemble of the State Theater in Košice (East Slovak National Theater), he took a position of a choirmaster, she became a soloist. In Košice, she performed in many mezzosoprano opera and operetta roles (G. Verdi: The Troubadour - Azucena, A. Dvořák: Rusalka - Ježibaba (a witch), B. Smetana: The Bartered Bride - Ľudmila, Ch. Gounod: Faust - Marta, J. Strauss: Gypsy Baron - Cipra and others). From 1954 to 1976, she worked in the State Theater in Košice as a stage manager.